The Field Studies of the Mangrove Ecosystem

The state and federal government created the Park during 1980s, to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988”(2). “On 1 January the Park was officially opened”(3). “This large up-to-date park consists of 100 hectors of inheritance land”. Mangroves are among the endangered habitats in the world, there are 64 types of mangroves in the world, and Bicentennial Park has 2 types. Like the mangroves salt marsh is also an endangered species, it is a filtering system for nearby rivers and streams and supplies nutrients to fish and other aquatic species. “The Badu mangrove board walk allows people to walk through one of the largest remaining mangrove ecosystem beside the Parramatta River”(4). Aim: To study the mangrove ecosystem by: * Measuring the abiotic factors at different locations. * Estimating the abundance of a plant and animal species. Describing the distribution of a plant and animal species. *

Identify the relationships between the abundance and distribution of a plant and animal species. * Describing how abiotic factors affect the distribution of organism. Method: Different test where executed: Measuring the abiotic factors at different location: We measured different types of abiotic factors in the saltmarsh community and in the mangroves ecosystem. Here are the types: Soil temp, soil moisture, light intensity, wind velocity, air temp and humidity. * Soil temp: equipment (Soil thermometer probe). Take the reading of the probe which was in the ground. Soil moisture: equipment (Soil moisture meter). Take the reading of the meter which is in the ground. * Light intensity: equipment (Light meter). I. You get the light meter open to see the white disk than point it upwards and press the button and wait for the reading. II. Take the reading of the meter. III. Close the light meter and put it back. * Wind velocity: equipment (Anemometer). I. Open the anemometer. II. Take the anemometer point it slightly upwards. III. Take the reading of the anemometer. * Air temp: equipment (thermometer) Take the reading of the thermometer. * Humidity: equipment (Hygrometer)

Take the reading of the Hygrometer. Estimating the abundance of plant and animal species: In order to estimate the prosperity of the plant and animal species (seedlings and crab holes), the quadrant technique was applied. 10 one meter quadrants where placed along the mangrove creek beside the wooden pathway. By counting the amount of the seedlings and crab holes in each of the 10 quadrants, the results were listed on a piece of paper. For the seedlings you take the average amount in all the quadrants and multiply it by the total area that the mangrove seedling creek covered to obtain the overall abundance of the seedlings.

For each one crab hole lives one crab in it, the average amount of crab holes in the 10 quadrants where multiplied by the area of mangrove seedling creek covered to obtain the abundance of the crabs in each crab hole. Describing the distribution of a plant and animal species: The first location was the mangrove trees; at the first location you’ll find a long transect. Along the transect where 10 meter posts that ended at 100 meters, mangrove trees where surrounding each one of the meters. The height of these mangrove trees were listed according to the estimation of the meter posts in every metre from 10100.

The results were recorded on a vegetation graph, where the y axis is the height of the mangroves in meters and the x axis is the distance distant from the creek in meters. The crabs liver near rivers because the abundant of food resources. When the tide comes up and deposits a rotted organic matter, referred to as detritus more offer near the creak. Results: The vegetation profile for Mangroves The height of the mangroves in the transect as function of distance (m) Graph1: Relation Between organisms in this ecosystem Relationship| Definition| Mutualism | This is a relationship that is mutually beneficial for both organisms.

Example: Like the shark and the remora, the remora swims under the shark and eats the dead skin of the shark, the remora benefits by being protected by the shark and the shark benefit’s by losing all of its dead skin. | Allelopathy| This happens when a plant releases a chemical to inhibit the growth of other plants. Example: The casuarina tree, it release casuarina needles to prevent the growth of other plants around it. | Commensalism | A relationship that benefits one organism and does not harm the other. Example: The epiphyte, it stays on the tree, the epiphyte benefits by having a place to stay and the tree is not harmed. Parasitism | In this relationship, one organism benefits, but the host organism is harmed.

The abiotic factors which we studied in the mangroves ecosystem and the Saltmarsh community where soil temp, soil moisture, light intensity, wind velocity, air temp and humidity. These abiotic factors were recorded in 3 phases (times). The soil temp and the air temp in the saltmarsh was slightly higher from the soil and air temp in the mangroves because of the height of the mangroves, there’s hardly enough sunlight hitting the soil and the air.

The soil moisture in the mangrove community increased from the saltmarsh community due to the mangrove trees releasing some water and because the sunlight hits the saltmarsh which allows the water in the soil to evaporate which means the soil moisture is lower in the saltmarsh community hence soil is muddier in the mangroves community. The light intensity in the saltmarsh was higher than the light intensity in the mangroves just like in the soil temp the sun hardly hits, because of the height of the mangroves that prevent the sunlight to pass through; hence this influences the levels of photosynthetic productivity.

The wind velocity where lightly equal in both of the 2 ecosystems the slightly difference could be because of the time. The humidity in the saltmarsh increased from the humidity of the mangroves. “The abiotic factors for the saltmarsh and mangroves ecosystem are not all similar over the whole area”(5). The mangroves could be near a creek or a river and vice-versa the salt marsh could be near an ocean this might change the results we obtained with the abiotic factors. Abiotic factors differ with each area the ecosystem is.

Abiotic factors could affect some mangroves and saltmarsh ecosystems the light intensity could be one of these factors, don’t plants need sunlight to perform photosynthesis, if light isn’t available for the mangroves how are they going to perform photosynthesis and grow and develop. Wind patterns can also affect the ecosystem, air picks up the vaporized water from the ocean it loses water as it is forced up mountain this is the procedure where rainfall occurs and rainfall is also important in the procedure of plant growth.

Soil moisture also affects the distribution of organisms (mangroves) mangrove trees tend to site where the soil moisture is more high. The abundance of the crabs (crab holes) and mangrove seedling in the creek where obtained by applying the quadrant technique, we noticed that when the amount of seedling increased the amount of crab holes decreased hence the more the crab holes in the quadrant the seedling where less abundant.

The map indicated the closer the mangrove seedling where to the creek the less abundant they were. Meanwhile for the crab holes the closer they were for the creek the more abundant the where. This is because of the food resources for the crabs, the tide comes up and deposits a rotted organic matter often referred to as detritus which is near the creak. The crabs also tend to live near the creek because of humans the crabs might get frightened from humans so they are more abundant further from the pathway near the creek.

The quadrant method was used to estimate the abundance of crabs in each crab holes and the mangrove seedling in the Badu mangrove ecosystem. This method wasn’t that accurate because first of all it takes a lot of time and when counting the amount an individual might make a mistake or might miss one or two. But this method has an advantage that the environment being tested on is not affected or harmed, to improve the accuracy of the quadrant method one should be focused in counting the amount of plant and animal species and repeat the procedure more than one.

The heights of the grey mangroves along the transect where measured the only disadvantage is the estimation of the height of the trees could be inaccurate, approaches in improving this method is by using measuring tape or some kind of measuring technique that is more accurate. A variety of equipment where used to measure the abiotic factors in the saltmarsh and the mangrove ecosystems, the equipment are: soil thermometer probe, soil moisture probe, anemometer, air thermometer, light meter and hygrometer.

For the soil moisture probe, soil and air thermometer and the hygrometer the result was obtained by recording the reading of these equipment, this procedure was accurate. For the light meter and anemometer there where steps (steps in method above) an individual may not know how to use these meters and may take the wrong reading, like in the results there was a result of 10lux while the rest of the results were in hundreds. Actions in improving these methods is have an experienced guide next to one nd help, use up-to-date equipment be careful and focused while taking the reading and repetition of each method could help the results be more accurate. Biotic factors could affect an area were organism’s sites, human impact is a major one.

Human impact could affect the mangrove ecosystem studied at the park, here are some impacts: * Littering is a major impact “Much litter contains toxins and chemicals that are harmful to animal and plant life”(6). Hard surfaces and foot paths like cement which “emissions of airborne pollution in the form of dust, gases, noise and vibration when operating machinery and during blasting in quarries, and damage to countryside from quarrying”(7). * Fertilizer’s they promote the growth of bacteria, fungi and algae. * Air pollution by factories and cars when the release smokes that is harmful to the air of the environment. * Physical damage for example teenagers vandalizing a natural resort. * The increase in fires not also promotes air pollution but it is damaging its whole surroundings. Wars could also have an impact on the environment. Strategies that could be applied to minimise or balance human impacts on the ecosystem: * Government could make fines for littering, increase the amount of rubbish bins. * More signs in the area that says fines for vandalizing property. * Create soft surfaces instead of hard ones. * Laws to produce the production of gases (green house) in factories. * Use filters on cars or factories to prevent the increase of air pollution. * Recycling. * Natural farming instead of using fertilizers. Conclusion:

The aim for this experiment was measuring the biotic and abiotic factors which we measured by using different types of methods and techniques, and included them in the results in forms of tables and graphs. These results were used to acquiesce the priority of each experiment and to answer the aim of the experiment. The discussion discusses the results and clarifies how we could’ve improved the tests and what was being affected in each one. We also studied the abundance and distribution of the plant and animal species it was presented in a graph, the description of the patterns where included in he results. Human impacts also have a huge impact on the ecosystems, so people should be careful and treat the ecosystems like their own children. Bicentennial Park can advertise the importance of ecosystems and educating generations to come.

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